Thursday, December 17, 2009
A Season of Angels
Do you believe in Angels? Some folks do not. Many prefer to look at the world as though the things we can see, hear, smell, taste and touch are the totality of reality. Still others (many of my best friends) look beyond the physical aspects of the "real world" to incorporate what the Apostle Paul talks about in Romans 8:37-39.
Paul (and the general witness of the New Testament) seems to think that there are supernatural elements of life that we can not touch with our hands or see with our eyes. One of those realities is the presence of angels.
Father Damien Thompson (former Abbott of Our Lady of Gethsemani) even believes in personal angels. Much like the concept of a "guardian angel" that is somehow assigned to look after a certain individual. His angel is named Marco. I have not discovered a personal angel but I do not set it aside as impossible.
In fact, the when the angel Gabriel appeared to a young woman named Mary ... Gabriel proclaimed that "nothing is impossible with God" ... I think Gabriel is correct. If God is God, then nothing is impossible. Even the presence of individually assigned angels that come complete with clever names.
It seems that this is the season for angels to make the headlines once again. We read the Christmas story and discover personal messages of Gabriel, we hear the choir of angels at the manger scene, and we sing of them with a word of "Hark!" What other time of year would you sing Hark? There must be something in the air.
For me, at this moment, I am aware that I do not have a full-fledged well-developed theology of angels. I just know this...When the angel appeared to Mary he said "do not be afraid." When the angel appeared to Joseph he said "do not be afraid." When the angel appeared to Zechariah he said "do not be afraid." And when the angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds in the field they heard "do not be afraid...I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people."
That's good enough for me. I won't be afraid because "perfect love drives out fear..." (I John 4:18). Not that my ability to love is perfect, but because God's nature is best described as perfect love. Therefore, I won't be afraid of angels or their message. In fact, I will seek them out. Maybe I will discover something new this Christmas season. I am looking forward to the possiblites.
Meanwhile, I will listen closely to some of my favorite angels...You met them in photo form at the open of this post!